Hello, lovely Amazin’ Avenue community. It is time for everyone’s favorite annual spring training tradition: the KoST! Between the continued fallout from the Astros cheating scandal and the Mets’ ownership saga, it has felt like an especially brutal offseason. So not only is the warm sunshine and actual baseball on our television screens a welcome thing, so are mic’d up baseball players and silly internet contests that remind us that baseball is supposed to be fun, after all.
The early 2020 KoST field is perhaps the most deep and in keeping with the spirit of this contest than we’ve had in years. So without further ado, let us review the candidates. As usual, I will provide periodic updates this spring and then before Opening Day, the community will vote to decide the winner.
Johneshwy Fargas - .350/.381/.650 in 20 ABs
When you hit for the cycle and I’m convinced you might be Jason Vargas sneaking into camp with a fake version of his name and a false mustache, that probably makes you the early KoST favorite, right? In reality, Fargas is a minor league veteran who played seven seasons in the Giants system before being signed by the Mets in January as a minor league free agent. Yesterday, he surged into an early KoST lead by hitting for the cycle in the Mets’ 7-7 tie against the Cardinals. It’s not like the pitchers against whom he achieved this feat are nobodies either; he collected his first two hits—an RBI triple and a double—against Adam Wainwright and finished his cycle with a solo homer off formidable reliever John Brebbia. Oh, and Fargas has stolen three bases this spring too, which leads the team. Just exquisitely befitting of this contest in every way, really.
KoST points: 5
Andres Gimenez - .300/.364/.550 in 20 ABs
Gimenez’s prospect stock took a cliff dive last season when it was clear his revamped swing wasn’t producing the results he or the Mets had hoped. Nevertheless, he hit well in the Arizona Fall League and that has carried over to spring training, so perhaps there is hope for him yet. Along with Fargas, Gimenez’s performance comes with the largest sample size among this group of small sample sizes, which gives his KoST candidacy a little more teeth. He is also tied for the the hits lead among this group with six.
KoST points: 4
Eduardo Nunez - .353/.421/.529 in 17 ABs
Before spring training began, it already felt like an inevitability that Eduardo Nunez, who the Mets signed to a minor league deal this offseason, was going to make the Opening Day roster. But after amassing six hits, two walks, and three RBIs (the most among this field) in only seven games? You can almost count on it. Nunez also showed that there is still some speed left in those legs, as he motored around the bases for a triple on Wednesday, much to the delight of his mic’d up teammates.
KoST points: 4
Max Moroff - .294/.429/.412 in 17 ABs
Moroff’s is another non-roster invitee whose name we’ve been hearing a lot this spring. So far in Grapefruit League play, he’s collected five hits—two of them for extra bases—four walks, and two runs scored. The shortstop has 244 major league plate appearances under his belt, but probably finds himself behind Luis Guillorme on the pecking order as far as backup infielders are concerned. But it is certainly possible, if things go very wrong for the Mets, as they often do, that we could be seeing Moroff again sometime during the 2020 season.
KoST points: 3
Patrick Mazeika - .444/.545/1.111 in 9 ABs
Aren’t mercurial catchers fun? Mazeika has blasted three doubles and a home run already this spring in limited action, which is why he gets an early KoST nod. The Mets’ precarious catching situation has been a topic of discussion this offseason, when Brodie Van Wagenen cited the addition of Ali Sanchez to the 40-man roster as a reason to be comfortable with the Mets’ catching depth. Of course, most reasonable minds would disagree, but one of the Mets’ less heralded catchers in the system finds himself among the early KoST favorites. (Sanchez, for what it’s worth, has just one hit in seven plate appearances so far this spring.)
KoST points: 3
Jarrett Parker - .235/.516/.588 in 17 ABs
Parker is another contender who snuck in at the last minute, hitting his second home run of the spring off Adam Wainwright in yesterday’s contest. He went 2-for-3 overall yesterday and rounds out this field as the guy who I had to Google because I did not know he was on the Mets. It turns out the 31-year-old has had quite the journey trying to make it back to the big leagues after a missed the entire 2018 season with a broken collarbone during his time with the Giants. But with the outfield as thin as it is (Ryan Cordell narrowly missed this early KoST list and earns an honorable mention here), it’s not outlandish to think that if the KoST ends up being an outfielder, he may end up with some at-bats with the big league squad.
KoST points: 2
What a delightfully diverse field with major league non-roster invitee veterans, prospects, and total unknowns alike—a group this KoST curator could only dream about, really. Good luck to them all.